Engaging government allies to advance the right to free early childhood education in poverty pockets

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Overview

Tactical Aim: 
Human Right: 
Country or Region: 
Organization: 
Arab Network for Civic Education (ANHRE)
Partner Organizations: 
Jordan Coalition for Education
Change Academy for Democratic Studies and Development

The Change Academy for Democratic Studies and Development and the Arab Network for Civic Education (ANHRE) successfully engaged allies in national government agencies along with local community organizations to advance the right to early childhood education in poverty pockets in Ma’an governorate, South Jordan. 

The effort maximized the parallel Jordanian government processes of the Early Childhood Development Strategy (2000), the Jordanian National Action Plan for Children (2004-2013), and the strategic plan of the Ministry of Education (2010-2014) to advance free and compulsory education by 2013. As a result, the Minister of Education activated “regional committees” consisting of the Directorate of Education including the Administrative Managers and technicians from the Directorate of Education in the three regions (south, west and center) and representatives of the Ministries of Health, Planning and Development. Additionally, the “regional committees” included community based organizations, international non-governmental organizations and the private sector - such as charitable organizations, representatives of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and governmental and private universities in each region. Working with a core group of three community based organizations, a local coalition of 23 organizations was built in the South to support the early childhood care and education campaign.[1]

Beginning in January 2012, the ANHRE used the New Tactics “Strategic Effectiveness” methodology to provide the framework for capacity building and action development among its partner organizations to build their early childhood education advocacy plan, and broaden the coalition for the early childhood care and education campaign in the South.

An important discovery in their research efforts highlighted the Jordanian government’s Early Childhood National Strategy and Childhood National Plan. These national goals were outlined in 2000 and slated for completion by 2013. Field work teams were activated in three regions advancing “The Education Reform for Knowledge Economy- ERFKE” effort. The effort included regional meetings with the Directorates of Education in order to engage them in the efforts to assess the needs of and expand kindergartens. Field work teams concentrated on building partnerships with various stakeholders in order to contribute to the expansion and provision of kindergartens.  This brought in line and bridged their own advocacy goal to advance access to kindergartens in the Ma’an governorate with the national government’s childhood strategy and plan.

Communities in the Ma’an governorate contain significant “poverty pockets.” Building allies within a number of key government ministries helped the coalition to address a common obstacle, the lack of resources needed by government ministries to implement national plans. The Coalition was able to identify common goals among the following ministries:

  • Ministry of Education: Free and compulsory early childhood education is mandated as a goal to be achieved by 2013. In order to truly advance this goal, resources and coordination are needed from the other ministries as well.
  • Ministry of Health: the rate of disability is very high at 9.2. In the target area of Ma’an, southern Jordan. In addition, the area has the highest rate of anemia in the country. Kindergartens provide a source for early identification of health issues, including conditions that arise from malnutrition.
  • Ministry of Planning and Development: Human development indicators consider education as a critical component of any development plan. A well-educated population is better able to meet the needs of the public and private sectors for general development and economic advancement. In addition, women in the labor market tend to have school aged children. Access to kindergartens provides women better access to the labor market with resulting benefits to the economy and development in these areas.

In the Ministry of Education Directorate of South Badia, the Jordan Coalition for Education, in participation with the All Jordan Youth Commission and the Kindergarten Support Fund within the Ministry of Education, launched the effort “Supporting Kindergartens II” in a number of schools in Ma’an. Various Institutions from the private and public sectors were invited to support the project.

While engaging allies from the government sector and community based organizations, the coalition of the early childhood care and education campaign in the South reached out to existing privately operated kindergartens. They recognized that these kindergartens might be opposed to free and compulsory kindergartens, losing sources of income. The coalition addressed the governmental support needs of private for-profit kindergartens, private non-profit kindergartens, and public (non-profit) kindergartens to ensure a multi-pronged approach for advancing access to kindergarten education.

In addition to successfully engaging government allies from four ministries, the campaign succeeded in

  • launching an “open day” for kindergarten which was attended by 2,000 children
  • expanding the coalition of the early childhood care and education campaign to include 23 community based organizations
  • establishing four new kindergartens in the community, and
  • helping to advance the government’s Early Childhood National Strategy and Childhood National Plan.  

Read more about this tactic on the CVT blog: http://www.cvt.org/blog/healing-and-human-rights/new-tactics-human-right...




[1] ANHRE, Change Academy, and one of the community based organizations of the core group are members of the Jordan Coalition for Education, an independent coalition which consists of around 28 organizations interested in Education. The Jordan Coalition for Education members in the south helped to support the coalition of the early childhood care and education campaign which was a focus of the 2012 worldwide.

 

New Tactics in Human Rights does not advocate for or endorse specific tactics, policies or issues.

What we can learn from this tactic: 

This tactic highlights the effectiveness of leveraging issue-related research that revealed existing government mandates and helped to develop effective strategic partnerships. Consider what issue-based research will help your organization to hold government agencies accountable for their mandates. This tactic also illustrates a good example of utilizing connections with both governmental agencies and local organizations for developing a beneficial public-private partnership that was necessary for addressing such a large scales issue, such as access to early childhood education. Such partnerships can be helpful in resource-sharing. Tactics that rely on government resources can be beneficial (see also examples from Turkey, Romania and South Africa) but also may be difficult to replicate or maintain due to changes in government personnel, and political sifts.

This tactic can be effective in engaging and reaching out to new allies to help further your goals. If you are unsure of how to identify new allies, there are resources available in our Strategy Toolkit, see Map the Terrain.